We’re being beaten on international trade deals, says expert

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dr John Isemede, an international trade expert with UNIDO, says Nigeria is really not gaining from its international trade agreements.

Isemede told newsmen in Lagos that many of Nigeria's trade agreements had even worked to its disadvantage due to poor export capacity in non-oil and low industrial capacity.

He said that it was regrettable that in spite of its over 550 trade agreements, Nigeria could still be in a recession "It is a bitter truth that Nigeria has gained almost nothing from trade agreements that we are into.

"Nigeria is not really doing business with the world, but just trading,'' he said.

Isemede said that that the best way out of economic recession would be to look inwards and utilise resources from all 774 local governments across the country to create jobs and food security.

"Nigeria currently has signed more than 100 trade policies in the last decade, none of which has impact, because we lack adequate capacity unlike our other countries in these agreements.

"There is a need to review trade agreements and policies at this time because most of the developed countries we see today grew by closing down their borders for a while.

"Take a look at AGOA for instance. For 10 years, only very few exporters have been able to export under the platform due to lack of poor information and proper documentation.

"We have rice mills and farms that are barely functioning, except for the new intervention of the UNIDO and Bank of Industry to empower farmers and this apparently is not enough.

"Most of the nation's farm produce have been rejected in the EU countries due to the high amount of pesticides, and poor storage methods, yet we are the highest producer of most of those foods.

"For instance, our yams, cassava, sesame seeds, shea butter are being freely exported under documentation from countries like Ghana, Cote'd Voire," he said.

Isemede said that these countries were beating us to it because of poor marketing capacity.

"Informal export and import trade has also taken over the country and smuggling accounts for up to 80 per cent," he said.

Isemede appealed to the Federal Government to introduce new policies to boost the export potential of valued added products in sectors like mining, agriculture and manufacturing.